Lon Morris College
|Affiliation||United Methodist Church|
|Location||Jacksonville, Texas, USA|
Lon Morris College (LMC) was a private junior college located in Jacksonville, Texas, United States, and was the only school affiliated with the United Methodist Church that was owned by an individual conference and not the denomination as a whole. Lon Morris was an accredited two-year institute of higher learning, which provides instruction in the arts and sciences with a core curriculum emphasizing liberal arts. While Lon Morris taught as many as 350 students in a semester, enrollment reached more than 1,000, a new record, in the fall of 2009. The school was 30 miles (48 km) south of Tyler. The person who last held the title of college president was Dr. Miles McCall; he resigned effective May 24, 2012.
Lon Morris College filed for bankruptcy on July 2, 2012. The 112-acre campus was auctioned on January 14, 2013 in Dallas, Texas; the primary purchasers were a local school district and an office supply company.
Founded in 1854 as the New Danville Masonic Female Academy near Kilgore, Lon Morris College was the oldest existing two-year college in Texas until its closure in 2012. In 1873, the academy moved to Kilgore and became property of the Kilgore Methodist Church, changing its name to the Alexander Institute in honor of its president Isaac Alexander, an outstanding early Texas educator.
The Texas Annual Conference acquired the Alexander Institute in 1875. Chartered on January 15, 1887, the Institute moved to Jacksonville in 1894 and to its final location in 1909. After R.A. "Lon" Morris of Pittsburg, Texas, gave his estate to the school, and with approval of the Texas Annual Conference, the name of the institution was changed again, in 1924, to Lon Morris College.
When it closed, Lon Morris was the only two-year Methodist college west of the Mississippi River, and it had held membership in the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools longer than any other two-year college in Texas. It was the only surviving pre-Civil War school in East Texas.
In 2009, the campus of Lon Morris grew to the west, with a gift from the city of Jacksonville of a municipal activity center (formerly a Texas National Guard armory), a rodeo arena, and land surrounding both. The college allowed annual events for the Tops-in-Texas Rodeo at the rodeo arena without any financial outlays from the city.
Students participated in a variety of sports including men's/women's basketball, baseball and softball, men's/women's soccer, men's/women's golf, volleyball, cheer leading and dance. In 2009, football was added as a varsity sport in attempt to increase revenue, but this effort was unsuccessful and all athletics programs were disbanded in 2012.
In February 2010, Lon Morris announced a new agriculture curriculum, and begun in the fall of 2010. In March 2010, the college acquired a prominent downtown Jacksonville building that originally had housed the city post office for many decades. A local family had owned and operated the building for a time as a hotel and restaurant using the name "The Landmark". Lon Morris announced it would use the acquired property for its new hospitality administration program, for which classes would start in the fall of 2010.
By March 2010, a new dormitory, Cooper House, opened on the campus, with room for thirty-two students. Another new dormitory was called "The Lodge."
On May 23, 2012, all college employees, with the exception of 11 core employees, were furloughed indefinitely. Over 100 individuals were furloughed. The furlough occurred after the school missed three pay periods. Miles McCall, the president, submitted his resignation notice via e-mail. McCall's resignation was effective May 24, 2012. The affected individuals were notified via email. The decision to furlough was made by the Bridge Point Consulting Company. On May 5, 2012 the board of trustees had asked Bridge Point Consulting Company to make recommendations on how to proceed with a planned restructuring of the school. Later that month Tyler Junior College sent an outreach team to help Lon Morris students register for summer classes at Tyler Junior College. It also allowed LMC students to live at the junior college residence halls at discounted rates.
Residence halls included Brown Hall, Clark Hall, Craven-Wilson Hall, and Fair Hall. Other student housing facilities included Cooper House, LMC Cottages, and LMC Lodge.
Lon Morris College was widely known for its Theatre Arts Department, which boasts many successful alumni including:
- Sandy Duncan;
- Margo Martindale;
- K. T. Oslin;
- Tommy Tune;
- Anime voice-actor Christopher Ayres;
- Amanda McBroom, Golden Globe-winning songwriter ("The Rose"), singer, Broadway performer, urban poet;
- Edwin Neal, an American actor, best known for his role in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974);
- Alan Tudyk, an American stage, film, and television actor.
Other notable Lon Morris alumni include:
- Dexter Cambridge, Bahamian professional basketball player with the NBA's Dallas Mavericks (1993)
- Russell B. Cummings, member of the Texas House of Representatives from Harris County, 1963–1967;
- John Wesley Hardt, a retired American Bishop of the United Methodist Church, elected in 1980;
- Micah Hoffpauir, Chicago Cubs first baseman;
- Johnny Horton (April 30, 1925 – November 5, 1960), an American country music singer;
- Mike Lee, an award-winning correspondent for ABC News;
- Neal McCoy, an award-winning American country music artist;
- Dee Ann McWilliams, Major General, US Army, retired;
- Carl Reynolds, major league baseball player and member of the Texas Sports Hall of Fame;
- Chris Sampson, current major league baseball player.
- "Lon Morris College". Texas Mentor (XAP Corp. 1999-2006). Retrieved 2007-06-24.
- Overcrowding the ‘suite’ life at Lon Morris, Jacksonville Daily Progress, August 26, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-24.
- "About Lon Morris College." (Archive) Lon Morris College. Retrieved on May 23, 2012.
- Lon Morris College files for bankruptcy
- Hodges, Sam; Editor, Former Managing; UMR. "Auction completed for Lon Morris College". UMR. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
- Ann Hudson: Jacksonville from the Handbook of Texas Online (June 6, 2001). Retrieved December 23, 2008.
- Connie Snodgrass: Alexander, Isaac from the Handbook of Texas Online (June 6, 2001). Retrieved December 23, 2008.
- "LMC History". Lon Morris College (2004), www.lonmorris.edu. Retrieved 2007-06-24.
- John Andrew Prime, "Ex-pastor of First United Methodist dies", Shreveport Times, July 15, 2007
- City signs over recreation center, rodeo grounds, Jacksonville Daily Progress, August 10, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-24.
- "Football can't save Texas' oldest junior college". Lubbock Online | Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
- "Lon Morris becomes second East Texas school to dump athletics". www.kltv.com. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
- LMC Adds Ag Program, Jacksonville Daily Progress, Nathan Straus--writer, February 17, 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-09.
- LMC Additions, Jacksonville Daily Progress, Nathan Straus--writer, February 3, 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-09.
- LMC inks deal for Landmark, Jacksonville Daily Progress, Nathan Straus--writer, March 8, 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-09.
- Sadler's Kitchen Set To Move Into Landmark Building, Tyler Morning Telegraph, Kelly Gooch--writer, March 24, 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-28.
- Lon Morris Adds Beds For Students, Tyler Morning Telegraph, Kelly Gooch--writer, March 25, 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-28.
- Valencia, Nick. "Oldest 2-year college in Texas furloughs staff." CNN. Wednesday May 23, 2012. Retrieved on May 23, 2012.
- Austin, Anthony. "Lon Morris restructuring could affect city financially." KYTX. Retrieved on May 26, 2012.
- , KETK News, Angela Berry--executive producer, May 23, 2012. Retrieved 2012-05-23.
- Resendiz, Marivel. "Lon Morris staff furloughed." Jacksonville Progress at the Corsicana Daily Sun. May 23, 2012. Retrieved on May 23, 2012.
- "Tyler Junior College to reach out to Lon Morris students for summer study." KYTX-TV. May 25, 2012. Retrieved on May 25, 2012.
- "Student Housing." (Archive) Lon Morris College. Retrieved on May 23, 2012.
- All planned out, Jacksonville Daily Progress, August 12, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-24.
- Amanda McBroom biography, http://www.amcbroom.com/amanda.html. Retrieved 2009-10-24.
- Making history, Jacksonville Daily Progress, July 31, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-24.
- Dee Ann McWilliams' Facebook page listing, retrieved 2010-03-28.
- Lon Morris College, a storied academic history, Jacksonville Daily Progress, August 16, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-24.
- "Cecil Peeples: a twentieth century giant: the story of Cecil Peeples, and his years at Lon Morris College in Jacksonville, Texas", John Wesley Hardt—editor, UMR Communications, 1999. Retrieved 2009-10-24.
- "Mid the pine hills of East Texas: the Methodist centennial history of Lon Morris College", Glendell A. Jones—author, Progress Publishing Co., 1973. Retrieved 2009-10-24.
- Lon Morris College
- Lon Morris College from the Handbook of Texas Online
- Online tour of Lon Morris campus (mainly interiors)
- NJCAA records/rosters for Lon Morris sports
- The Millenium Mural - artwork of Lon Morris campus buildings/icons and lineage of College presidents